OK, so you know you can trust Ty'Son Williams this week -- we went over that in last night's newsletter. Who else can you trust?
That's the question Dave Richard is setting out to ask in his Starts and Sits, Sleepers and Busts piece, as he goes through every game on the schedule trying to help you figure out who should be in your lineup. We answered some more big questions in our Week 3 roundtable survey, about our favorite players to stash, our early regression candidates, and more, so you should check that out, too.
If you've still got questions, however, subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel and join Adam Aizer and Dave Richard at 2 p.m. ET today for our start/sit live stream, where they'll be answering as many of your questions as we can for Week 3. They'll be discussing all of the latest news and answering your toughest lineup questions, and we'll be there every week to make sure you're ready for the first lineup lock of the week Thursday night.
Get ready for Week 3 with our other preview content here:
- Week 3 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | RB | WR
- Starts, sits and sleepers for every game
- Week 3 Position Previews: QB | RB | WR | TE
- My Week 3 Rankings: Flex Top 150 | QB | RB | WR | TE
Keep an eye out for tomorrow's newsletter, where I'll preview every game this week, including full injury report updates from around the league. Here's what else today's newsletter will cover:
There are the obvious calls, and then there are the ones you need help with. Dave Richard goes through each game to identify the most interesting matchups and biggest lineup dilemmas for Week 3. Here are some of his top picks for this week. You can find the rest of his advice for Week 3:
- Ty'son Williams -- "Williams isn't just a Fantasy starter this week -- he's got a shot to be one of this year's rags-to-riches Fantasy running backs if he can just cut down on his mistakes. The film proves he's the Ravens' most explosive rusher, ripping off seven runs of 5-plus yards last week thanks to a good O-line. He also dominated valuable snaps in the red zone (eight with four touches), inside the 10 (four with one carry) and in the two-minute offense (all six snaps to end the first half). The fumble near the goal line, however, was the latest in a series of errors by Williams that the Ravens have to be worried about. At least he did better in pass protection. Detroit's run defense has allowed six touchdowns to running backs through two games. Count on Williams getting a nice amount of touches and potentially scoring -- and if you don't have Williams, trade for him! "
- Justin Herbert -- "No cold feet allowed here. Herbert has yet to crack 20 Fantasy points in a game, but that can all be blamed on bad luck. His pass-catchers have dropped six passes and his offense has been flagged for six penalties on pass plays -- if all of those things were to have gone Herbert's way, he'd have four more touchdowns and roughly 175 more yards. That's 31 more Fantasy points in his back pocket, double what he has in reality. It's insanely rotten luck for Herbert, who should remain a trustworthy staple in Fantasy lineups against a Chiefs pass defense that has seen the fourth-fewest pass attempts against them this year yet has allowed the 13th-most passing yards. "
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire -- "Week 2 couldn't have gone worse for Edwards-Helaire. Despite dominating rush attempts and an increase in routes run (68% of pass snaps), he didn't have a single red-zone carry, he didn't have a single target, and after averaging 3.5 yards per carry he effectively cost the Chiefs a win with a game-ending fumble. How in the world are we supposed to start him with confidence?! He's played just eight red-zone snaps and has two touches. He's played just eight third downs and has one carry. Meanwhile, Darrel Williams has played three more third-down snaps and has four red-zone snaps with a short-yardage touchdown. It's hard to straight-up bench Edwards-Helaire given the likelihood of a high-scoring game, but the Chiefs have posted over 30 points in consecutive weeks and the guy's totaled under double-digit Fantasy points both times."
- Michael Pittman -- "Feeding Pittman targets seems like a good idea, but before last week's 12-target explosion he had just three games out of 15 with seven-plus targets. Two of those three games came against the Titans last year, and in one of them Pittman finished with two catches for 28 yards (7-101-0 in the other). I don't think the Colts have to or necessarily want to throw a ton this week with Jacob Eason under center. Pittman needs those targets to thrive since his 46th-best 3.64 yards after catch per reception average confirms his modest explosiveness. If I had more confidence in Eason, Pittman would be a flex play, but it's definitely safer to let Pittman sit this week."
- Rondale Moore -- "It doesn't take much to see Moore's appeal. Not only does he have tremendous speed, but he also has incredibly nifty feet. His 17-yard reception last week saw him side-step several defenders after a short catch. He actually leads the Cardinals in targets, catches and yards through two games. Not bad for a guy who's played less than half of the snaps per game. Perhaps that changes as soon as this week as Jacksonville's secondary has been absolutely scorched -- multiple receivers have posted at least 12 PPR points in both games. I'd bet on Moore and his after-catch skills before A.J. Green or Christian Kirk."
- Darnell Mooney -- "It's a small sample size, but on four targets from Justin Fields, Mooney is averaging a 12.8 average route depth. That's almost double the average route depth Mooney collected from Andy Dalton over 11 targets (6.7). The hope here is that Fields keeps looking for Mooney, which he's done on 30.7% of his throws so far. Fields' mobility should put Mooney in open spaces downfield to help produce numbers, plus Mooney already has an end zone target from Fields that he should have caught last week (he also had one from Dalton that got intercepted). Cleveland's been beat up by receivers making chunk plays this year including two 30-yard receptions allowed to Houston last week. Mooney is a fantastic DFS play and an appealing No. 3 receiver too."
- Brandin Cooks -- "Of the nine targets Cooks got from Davis Mills last week, four were off-target and another bounced off Cooks' arm because he wasn't looking for the ball. The remaining four balls were caught in short range for 28 yards including a two-yard score. With Tyrod Taylor, Cooks had an 83.3% catch rate and averaged 18.2 yards per catch. Pretty obvious downgrade here! Tack on a Panthers pass defense that, save for a couple of leaks against the Jets in Week 1, has played very well, and Cooks' outlook is pretty dicey. If you start Cooks, you're hoping his target volume stays where it's been (10.5 per game) and he gets on the same page with Mills. I'm not sure how realistic that is. Cooks is only trustworthy as a flex."
On Wednesday, CBS Fantasy Editor Dan Schneier surveyed the FFT team with some big questions of his own about our favorite bench stashes, our early-season regression candidates, and who we think is going to break out. Because Week 2 brought about as many new questions as answers.
Here are my answers to those questions, and click here to see what Dave, Jamey, Heath, and Adam had to say.
Which early-season breakout is due for regression?
I think Rob Gronkowski is probably the most obvious name. As good as he has been, he's not going to score a touchdown on 30% of his targets, even if he is likely to score more often than your average tight end in this offense, obviously. The problem is, the Buccaneers spread the ball around so much, and Gronk is probably going to be touchdown dependent for most of the season. You can trust him as a starter, but if someone views him as something more than that -- as a true difference maker -- consider trading him.
Which early-season dud is due for (positive) regression?
Robert Woods and A.J. Brown are my picks. Woods actually has a slightly higher target share than he had last season, while his average depth of target has risen from 6.7 yards to 9.1. This is exactly what we hoped we would see with the addition of Matthew Stafford, and it's going to turn into big production soon. Don't worry. The same is true for Brown, who struggled with drops in Week 2, but is still getting a bunch of very valuable targets. He's never had issues with drops in the past, so I see no reason to think he won't be an elite WR moving forward.
Who is the one player you're most excited to stash on your bench right now?
If Rondale Moore counts, it's him. If we're looking a little deeper, I would say Will Fuller, who may have been dropped in some of your leagues after he was inactive for the first two games. I'm worried about the state of the Dolphins passing game with Tua Tagovailoa's injury -- as well as the play of the offensive line -- but if Fuller can get on the field and the offense stabilizes, I still think he has must-start upside. He could help the offense take a big step forward after an awkward start.
Who is your favorite matchup-based start for Week 3?
I try to not put too much weight on matchups, but it's hard to ignore Sam Darnold against the Texans, Daniel Jones against the Falcons, and Teddy Bridgewater against the Jets. Of course, it's not just because of the matchups -- I've also been impressed by how all three have looked so far. They could all be top-12 QBs this week, and I actually do have Bridgewater ranked that way.
What's your best advice for any team who has started 0-2?
Relax. It's going to be OK. Probably. Fortunes can change very quickly in Fantasy, and you can probably make the playoffs in a six-team playoff at 8-6, so you definitely aren't anywhere close to out of it. But you do need to identify what your weak spots are and start working to fix them. That doesn't mean making a panic trade, but it does mean being honest about what your team's chances of turning it around are, and which players are likely to get you there. When it comes to setting your lineup, maybe you stop worrying about safety and start shooting for upside a bit more often.
🆚TNF Preview: Panthers at Texans
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook
- Line: Panthers -8; 43 O/U
- Implied totals: Panthers 25.5-Texans 17.5
What to expect: Based on how the Panthers have played, this one shouldn't be close. Sam Darnold is actually playing quite well with his new team, and he's clearly benefiting from the improved talent around him. Davis Mills may end up being a pretty good quarterback one day, but with the way the Panthers defense dismantled the Saints in Week 2, it's pretty hard to see him having a good first start in a short week. It's an incredibly tough spot for him to land in.
Key injuries: Danny Amendola (thigh) -- Amendola is out, and Nico Collins was placed on IR earlier this week, so an already limited Texans receiving corps is going to be even more depleted. I would consider David Johnson as a DFS play, or even as a desperation play in deeper PPR leagues.
What to watch for: The Panthers shouldn't have much trouble doing what they want in this one, so it'll be interesting to see if Robby Anderson can get going. They've primarily used him as a deep threat this season, and if that continues, it's going to be tough to trust him. On the Texans side, it's all about how Mills looks. If he plays well, that should bode well for this offense moving forward -- which mostly just means it bodes well for Brandin Cooks, the only trustworthy Fantasy starter here right now. Maybe he'll get the running backs more involved in the passing game than the more mobile Tyrod Taylor.
Notable player props
- Christian McCaffrey: UNDER 49.5 receiving yards -- The over feels obvious here -- he's averaging 58.8 receiving yards per game over the past four seasons! However, in the Panthers 14 wins that he has played in during that stretch, he's topped this number just six times. It doesn't feel great taking the under, but there might be some logic to it in a game the Panthers are expected to win pretty easily.
- Robby Anderson: OVER 3.5 receptions -- I'm a bit worried about Anderson's reversion to being a deep threat after last year's more high-volume role, but I'm not ready to write him off for that role just yet. I'll take the over on it for this week, but if he doesn't see his target share increase this week, it might be time to make other plans for your WR2/3 slot.
- Sam Darnold: OVER 36.5 longest pass completion -- Look, it just takes one play, and the Panthers have plenty of players capable of hitting on a big play at any time. Anderson is the best bet, given how he's been used, but D.J. Moore had 10 receptions over 36.5 yards last season, too. The Panthers may not need to throw much in this one, but I suspect we'll see some aggressive shots early to help get them out to that early lead.
🚑Week 3 Injury Watch
The Big News
- Justin Fields is starting for the Bears against the Browns, with Andy Dalton ruled out as a result of his knee injury. Bears coach Matt Nagy did make a point to say he still views Dalton as the team's starter when he is healthy, and we'll take him at his word on that. But if Fields goes out and pulls off the upset while showing his dynamic playmaking? Well, all bets are off.
- Because Elijah Mitchell was able to return to action in Week 2 briefly, it seemed like he might be more likely than Trey Sermon to play Sunday against the Packers. However, Sermon was limited in Wednesday's practice, while Mitchell was held out, with Kyle Shanahan telling reporters Mitchell's injury was "a little more" than the stinger the team hoped for. Sermon still has to clear the concussion protocol, but Shanahan added he is "on a good path," per The Athletic, and seems likelier to be active Sunday than Mitchell. We'll need to monitor this one closely, but Sermon would be in the low-end RB2 discussion if he is active and Mitchell isn't -- and there's a chance he's good enough to take the job and run with it. If neither is active, it'll be some kind of combination of Trenton Canon, Kerryon Johnson, Jacques Patrick, and/or Chris Thompson, the latter three of which were signed to the practice squad in recent days. It would be a stay-away situation in that case.
- Tua Tagovailoa will miss Week 3's game against the Raiders after further testing revealed he had suffered fractured ribs Sunday against the Patriots. Jacoby Brissett will get the start for the Dolphins and the team is viewing Tagovailoa as week to week at this point. The Dolphins should have Will Fuller back after he missed Week 1 serving a suspension and then was out dealing with personal issues in Week 2. However, it will be tough for Brissett to take advantage of Miami's skilled pass catchers given the way the offensive line has been playing. I'll take a wait-and-see approach on Fuller, while Jaylen Waddle is more of a low-end starter.
I'll have a full breakdown of the injury report in Friday's newsletter along with my preview of each game, but here's a look at some notables from the first practice participation reports of the season. And, luckily, it's actually a pretty light list!
Injuries to watch for Week 3
It's not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
- Dalvin Cook (ankle) -- Cook was warming up during the portion of practice available to the media Wednesday, but was officially listed as a non-participant. At this point, I'm assuming Cook will go, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him take it easy. The Vikings have a lot more to lose from pushing him than they do to gain.
- DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) -- Hopkins was a surprise addition to the injury report Wednesday. While he generally doesn't practice on Wednesday, he was listed as out this week with the rib injury, so that's something to keep an eye on ahead of this week's game against the Jaguars.
- Tee Higgins (shoulder) -- Higgins went to the medical tent during Sunday's game, but returned to the field and we thought nothing of it. However, he was held out of practice Wednesday, so we'll have to keep an eye on his status in the next few days to see if this is something to be concerned about.
- Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral) -- Did not practice Wednesday, but seemed to downplay the injury in talking to the media. I'll take that as mixed signals and we'll watch for more details Thursday.
- Damien Harris (finger) -- Harris popped up on the injury report Wednesday as limited with a finger injury. I've seen nothing to suggest this is something to worry about, but it is a new injury, so I'll just note it here and we'll check back in tomorrow.
- Noah Fant (ankle)/Courtland Sutton (hip)/Tim Patrick (hip) -- I'll just lump these three here. All were limited Wednesday as the Broncos began preparations for Sunday's game against the Jets, but I've seen no reason to believe any of them are at risk of missing the game. We'll keep an eye out for tomorrow's practice report.
Trending up for Week 3
This doesn't mean they will play, but we got good news about them Wednesday.
- Odell Beckham (knee) -- After being inactive for the first two games of the season, Beckham practiced without limitations Wednesday and is expected to make his debut against the Bears. It's possible the two weeks on the sidelines will allow Beckham to play something like a normal role in his first game back, but I'll stick with my preseason assumption that he will be limited in his return to action. I'll let Beckham prove he's up to full speed and worth starting before I trust him. Jarvis Landry (knee) was sent to IR earlier in the week, so the Browns certainly could use Beckham.
- Laviska Shenault (shoulder) -- Shenault was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, which is about as good of confirmation as you'll get that this injury is nothing to be concerned about. His role in the Jaguars passing game -- mostly all short targets -- plus the overall lack of effectiveness of that passing game are more concerning, though don't go dropping him or anything just yet.
Trending down for Week 3
This doesn't mean they won't play, but they aren't moving in the right direction yet.
- Josh Jacobs (toe/ankle) -- Jacobs was not able to practice Wednesday, and coach Jon Gruden called him "very questionable" earlier in the week, so operate under the assumption he will not be able to play. Peyton Barber figures to be the lead rusher for the Raiders, but Kenyan Drake is the better Fantasy option against the Dolphins.
- Darrell Henderson (ribs) -- Henderson did not practice Wednesday, and he's expected to sit out Thursday as well. We'll see if they give him a go Friday before making a call, but right now, I'm expecting Sony Michel to get the start against a very tough Buccaneers defense this week.
- Carson Wentz (ankles) -- Wentz was present at a walkthrough Wednesday, but was listed as a non-participant in practice, which will likely be the case Thursday as well. Colts coach Frank Reich said Wentz doesn't necessarily have to practice this week to play, but he would prefer if he did. At this point, expect Jacob Eason to get the start against the Titans.
- Diontae Johnson (knee) -- Johnson didn't practice Wednesday, and, while this isn't expected to be a long-term injury, I'm approaching the Steelers offense as if he won't play right now. If he doesn't, Chase Claypool figures to see more run in two-WR sets while James Washington would step in as the No. 3 against the Bengals.
- Evan Engram (calf) -- Engram returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, a good sign in his recovery from a calf injury he suffered in the preseason. The Giants opted not to put Engram on injured reserve at the start of the season, an indication they expected him back by at least this week's game against the Falcons. That's an awesome matchup, but I wouldn't feel comfortable trusting Engram in it. However, in leagues where he is available, consider adding him on waivers just in case.
- Russell Gage (ankle) -- Gage was unable to return to Sunday's game following the injury, and the Falcons brought in some veteran wide receivers for tryouts, so that doesn't seem like a good sign. I'm not sure I would want to trust anyone outside of Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley in this passing game right now anyway.
- Jamison Crowder (groin) -- Crowder progressed to limited participation last week, but was unable to play. It's unclear if this is representative of a setback, or if they just want to try to work him back slowly as he tries to return. Either way, I'm not expecting much from him.